Marketing Automation, a popular buzzword in technology business, is a market trend spinning along its way from being perceived as an advanced email sending tool to an excellent marketing software solution, desirable and widely used by numerous businesses. So, let’s have a look at the current marketing automation trends, and fantasize what a very successful marketing automation platform (MAP) should be like.
According to the ultimate marketing automation usage statistic gathered in October 2015, on average 49% of companies are using marketing automation and have already decided on the provider. Though, more than half of B2B companies comprising 55%, are now in the adoption process.
Despite considerable potential and benefits of using marketing automation tools, there are numerous cases of widespread dissatisfaction with the current features and logic typical to the majority of the popular tools.
Let’s have a look at the most common issues connected with marketing automation and find out which of the future trends will properly address them. Still, something about marketing automation platforms should remain constant and it’s the ability to nurture prospects with highly personalized approach in the way that would convert them into delighted customers.
Complexity of marketing automation technologies with numerous features, lack of usability and poor UX are the biggest factors that explain why the adoption of marketing automation is hampered by the bigger numbers of companies. Apparently, for the majority of users it is the biggest challenge to simply understanding what the various marketing automation systems actually do and what are the biggest differences among them.
The second biggest challenge is poor integration with sales and marketing efforts, as well as other company’s software. Understanding how marketing automation would work in your particular business environments and what settings should be specified to get you the biggest ROI is something that marketing specialists deem critical for the success of the automation tool.
“Technology integration complexity is the most challenging obstacle to success, 50% of companies indicate. The result is that only 25% of companies have extensively integrated their disparate marketing technology systems. Nearly as many (22%) have not integrated their marketing technologies at all.” – Ascend2 “Marketing Technology Strategy” (August 2015)
Hard-coded workflows and low-level approach to configuration basically occur in all the MAPs. That is one more issue which if not complicates working with automation of marketing then definitely questions its effective use. Setting up workflows correctly, optimizing them, and finally making use of them – well, what kind of automation is that? Just think of changing any logic on your website and the changes in the workflow it would entail – no trace of flexibility detected.
Despite all the limitations and bottlenecks, marketing technologies evolve, as any other technology does. So let’s imagine and discuss a perfect future for a single marketing automation tool. What would it like to work with software that is easier to use, without fragile workflows but the most scalable, incredibly fast, and responsive platform? What features should it possess? Have a look at the selection below.
Not only by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions, platforms should also provide scalable, incredibly fast and responsive database and workflow systems. That is why availability of the features like segmentation, modelling, forecasting, and optimization, will be highly productive.
Segmentation allows thorough grouping of existing customers and anonymous prospects based on particular data attributes or behavioral patterns.
Modeling provides hints related to attraction, retention, and communication with the customer to be implemented.
Forecasting predicts the likelihood of customers to undertake certain actions or behaviors in both the near and long term.
Optimization ensures that your customers are contacted with appropriate and contextualized offers as you engage with them over time.
On top of the features, we believe that there is a usability factor that can make marketing automation a success – customization for marketers, personalization for prospects and leads. Let us explain why we consider these factors to be important.
Being more personalized means that marketing automation will expand to different parts of the customer decision journey with more personalized content and leads being scored in real time. With the help of predictive analytics, marketers will predict conversions and interactions for each customer, so automation capabilities will only expand.
Marketing departments will be able to test their offers and content immediately, nurturing meaningful interactions with clients. Predictive abilities will help modify customer’s experience. Not only you will get the predicted conversion, but also you will have a chance to influence it, accurately forecasting the right communication channels, content types, and time of impact.
In future, marketing automation will anticipate what questions user will have as they interact with your brand and will help marketers to answer them even before they are asked. Going even further, the most successful innovation will be in delivering new value to the previously unknown customer segments.
Customization stands for open APIs so that companies can build custom and very focused software tailored for their specific business intelligence needs. It will perfectly integrate not only with the corporate systems, but also with sales processes and efforts just in the way your company, not mine or their needs it. Either inhouse or third-party development on top of the most popular marketing automation platforms, will help to reach a completely new level of customization for the marketers as the first users of the marketing products.
The unique combination of marketing, sales, and technology will get customization to the highest possible level.
One more important thing to consider is that marketing automation solutions should be available for companies of any size. You don’t need to spend a fortune on marketing soft instead of using that soft to make a fortune. All these automation improvements should help a company grow if growing is among its top priorities.
What is common in personalization and customization matters? Yes, it is prediction, ability to predict, or being predictive.
As automation adoption continues to grow, the engineers will continue to integrate smarter algorithms with even bigger learning capabilities. It’s evolution that will make the way to exact predictions about customer behavior so that marketers can strengthen engagement and better determine whom the most desirable customers are.
Even though with marketing automation businesses can already analyze the current leads with their buying potential, but these projections will continue to be developed at every customer touch point as a response to the personally set triggers.
In such a way, predictive analytics will completely reimagine marketing automation for online forms, drip marketing campaigns, and contact scoring.
With the amount of data available today from digital channels, marketing platforms can measure their own data in real time and optimize itself in way to outpace the competitors. Now marketing tech is about much more than automated processes – it’s about automated or almost automated self-improvement.
Marketing automation is here to stay and it will continue to evolve. The perfect future we have described is not that far to reach. Powerful technologies like machine learning with big-data enabled predictive analytics will help marketers become more efficient. However, we should never forget, that it’s human relationships that are in the heart of marketing and no automation will bridge the gap between you and your client unless delighting a person is the ultimate goal of all of your marketing campaigns.
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